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Hike Planning

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Re: Hike Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:01 pm

Those photos help allot. I didn't know there was so much granite there. Makes me want to do it even more.

I do know that water levels will be tricky in Northern Yosemite that early. Two years ago in mid July some of the PCT crossings were chest deep.



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Re: Hike Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:41 pm

Ok so unless he backs out Traumahead on here is on board for a loop hike when I start. He doesn't do so well up high so this area will be perfect. This over all plan works out perfectly with trying to meet up with a trail crew at Reds Meadow.

This is what I have:

June 1 - 1 - Eleanor Creek
June 2 - 2 - Edith Lake
June 3 - 3 - Twin Lakes
June 4 - 4 - Bonnie Lake
June 5 - 5 - Black Bear Lake
June 6 - 6 - Layover
June 7 - 7 - Cow Meadow Lake
June 8 - 8 - Lord Meadow
June 9 - 9 - Flora Lake
June 10 - 10 - Lake Eleanor
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June 11 - 11 - Laurel Lake
June 12 - 12 - Bearup Lake
June 13 - 13 - Tilden Lake
June 14 - 14 - Lake 8920
June 15 - 15 - Benson Lake
June 16 - 16 - Layover
June 17 - 17 - Piute Creek
June 18 - 18 - Maltby Lake
June 19 - 19 - Mono Village
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June 20 - 20 - Extra Day Food
June 21 - 21 - Spiller Creek
June 22 - 22 - Shepherd Lake
June 23 - 23 - Upper Lee Vining Creek
June 24 - 24 - Tuolumne Meadows
June 25 - 25 - Layover
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June 26 - 26 - Upper Lyell Canyon
June 27 - 27 - 1000 Island Lake
June 28 - 28 - Reds Meadow

So the details of the above would be to cross over to the PCT from where Bigelow Peak is. I'd stay at Bonnie then do a little loop around all those small lakes and head for Bond Pass. When leaving Black Bear Lake i'd take the trail up to Emigrant Lake and go down to Cow Meadow Lake from the outlet of Emigrant Lake. I'd then cut up around Letora Lake hooking around Huckleberry Lake. After Lord Meadow I would go to Boundary Lake then past Little Bear Lake and Spotted Fawn Lake over to Flora Lake. I'd go North out of Flora Lake to Kibbe Creek and to Kibbie Lake. Then down back to Eleanor Lake.

From there i'd take the trail up to Laurel Lake and all the way up Frog Creek to the Otter Lakes. Then drop to the PCT and go over to Tilden Lake. Since Benson Lake I think is too far in one shot I decided the best stop would be Lake 8920 West of Price Peak. Then off to Benson and up Slide Canyon and down through Little Slide Canyon.

I then would follow the Sierra High Route to Tuolumne. I tried to keep the miles down allot since post holing could be really nasty through there. That's also why I noted extra day of food just in case I cannot make the miles.

This plan would allow me to resupply by leaving a box at Eleanor Lake then sending something to Mono Village or buy as you go (need to research options) and off to Tuolumne.
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:56 pm

I have gone up part of Kendrick Creek below Edith Lake early season and in my opinion the creek is not crossable. Decide which side of the creek you want to be on and if you want to be on the south, start at Hetch Hetchy dam and drop into Edith Lake from the south. The cross country travel south of Twin Lakes is brushy. I camped at Peninsula Lake - very nice. Buck Lake and Latora Lake are also very nice. Early season the crossing at Lord Meadow is also very difficult if you are on the north side; it is best to stay on the south side or cross up higher. Actually, early season in this part of Yosemite/Emigrant is quite snowy and crossings are all pretty difficult. It will depend on snowmelt and peak runoff. When I have traveled here early season, I also did a lot of post-holeing- all possible but very slow. You probably should have a "Plan B" to do this part later in the year, if we end up with a more than normal snowpack or late melt. If you read the 2011 PCT journals you will get an idea of what crossings are like when water is high.
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:28 pm

Yeah I imagine the crossings will be difficult. I hope that the snow will be low this season or at the least a quick melt off. All these factors has always made me start in the South. In 2010 I started at Hetch Hetchy but I waited until July 11th to let more snow melt. These days I want to spend more days in the wild then the season allows for so I don't want to wait anymore. I'd rather just deal with snow.

If I cannot do it in June I would scrap this whole section of the hike. Doing it later would just be too hot. The Wiki charts for Lake Eleanor show an average temperature in June of 75F. July and August it's closer to 100F.
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:12 pm

Photos from June 3-8 2006 trip

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Piute Creek, Plesant Valley
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Piute Creek, Pleasant Valley crossing
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View from Piute Mountian, looking north
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Looking up Piute Creek to Benson lk (behind ridge), view from trail above Pleasant Valley

Kendrick Creek below Edith Lake is basically a swamp early season. Be sure to have footware that can do all day in water. The off-trail travel around Emigrant Lake/Maxwell Lake/Latora Lake is quite tricky with lots of little cliffs.

June IS a beautiful time in this area. Weather is perfect. Crossings are the major problem. I hope it works out for you.
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby oldranger » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:05 pm

Rogue,

Though much of NW yosemite is low and several locations can be accessible early in the season if it turns out to be a big snow year many of the creek crossings can be treacherous even into early July. Northwestern Yosemite can get much more snow than similar elevations further s. Keep your options open for a plan B. I probably won't "set" my June/july plans until May 1 though usually you can have a pretty solid Idea by using the April 1 snow survey info.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:39 am

Yeah only time will tell. Hopefully it works out as i'd love to wander around that area at that time of year. I love raging rivers over flowing their banks. Getting killed on the first week or two of the trip though seems a bit wasteful. :)

The off-trail travel around Emigrant Lake/Maxwell Lake/Latora Lake is quite tricky with lots of little cliffs


I imagine this being true with allot of this route. Granite areas always have the micro cliff problems. That area though I plan to stay on the trail until the outlet of Emigrant Lake. Mapsource shows a trail leaving it's outlet and moving SW past a small lake before heading down to Cow Meadow Lake. The National Geographic maps do not show this trail but at least it gives me an idea on a useable route.

Has anyone been on the Sierra High Route early season through that area? I'm wondering what I can expect doing Stanton Pass and Sky Pilot Col. Being South bound I at least will be climbing their North faces so I can cut foot holds in the snow. Do I need to worry about any major cornices?
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:23 pm

I did Sky Pilot Col July 4 in a high snow year. To get to the pass from Shepherd Lake on the north side is actually easier when it is snow filled. Otherwise, there are lots of talus blocks to jump through. The south side can hold steep snow because it is in shadows. The lower part is a huge talus field and does not offer a safe run-out if one were to fall down steep snow on the Col. Sky Pilot Col is very steep and dangerous even without snow due to ball bearing sand over hard dirt. It may even be a bit easier (but no more safe) if you could kick steps in snow. When we went over early season, we skirted around the Col north and east (staying on the north side of the ridge that forms the Col) and then crossed lower on the ridge. This avoided the steep Col, but did add a lot of boulder-hopping.

If you do not like the looks of Stanton Pass, you can instead continue to Spiller Lake (very easy) and then ascend due south of the outlet (steep but there is a game trail), cross the ridge at 11,300 feet, drop to 11,200 feet and traverse to Soldier Lake.

Also, crossing Robinson Creek (to get up to Maltby Lake via the Incredible Hulk) is very difficult early season. I have crossed Piute Creek in Slide Canyon near Bath Mountain and it is not that difficult. There is not enough of an upper watershed to create a lot of flow here. Upper Return Creek should not be too difficult either where you cross it to get to Shepherd Lake.

The pass at the head of Spiller Creek is all snow on the north side. When I did this pass (not as early as you will) the snow was very hard and icy until about an hour of sunshine hit the snow. I did not have an ice axe or crampons.

If you hit the snow at the right time on a lot of passes early season you are OK with trekking poles only, but you do have to wait at times for the sun to do its work softening it, but not wait so long that it starts to post-hole. Lots of times, the sun is warm enough to melt the top layer, and if it freezes at night, then it is icy and hard even though it will deteriorate to the point of post-holing later in the afternoon.

Overall, early season in northern Yosemite is a lot wetter than in the southern Sierra. Sometimes you will have a hard time finding dry ground for camping. I camp on flat rocks a lot. One of the more annoying things is post-holing through soft snow and landing in 1-foot deep water below. You will work a lot harder than you probably would in the southern Sierra to go the same amount of miles you did last year.I see you have some contigency days built in - that is a very good plan.
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:58 pm

All great information. Thanks.

I certainly will have an ice axe when I start. How long I carry it will depend on the snow levels.

I always wear full grain leather boots now that hold water big time. If I have to slosh along in those then I will.
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:03 pm

A few photos and maps

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Stanton Pass detour
Image
Sky Pilot detour (dashed line)
Image
Pass at head of Spiller Creek, Aug 15, 2010 (high snow year)
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July 4, 2002 Sky Pilot Col from Shepherd Crest (almost sure this is correct)
Image
gully from Shepherd Lake to Sky Pilot Col, Aug 16, 2010
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby paul » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:02 pm

I have done the spiller to soldier route in reverse - piece of cake. You will have to pick the right spot to drop down off the ridge after you climb up from spiller lake, and also where the steep bit is above soldier lake, but you'll have no problems with it. Stanton pass with a lot of snow is definitely trickier that the spiller-soldier alternative(ice axe and crampons unless it is pretty soft); in fact I would take the alternative in any case as it is a really nice route, spiller and soldier lakes are both nice spots.
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Re: Hike Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:19 pm

I'll certainly keep it in mind. I've never been a purist when it comes to routes so if skipping Stanton Pass gives me a more scenic route than I wouldn't care.
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